I just got handed a summons and complaint, what do I do?
When you are sued for nonpayment of debt, the first step is that a summons and complaint are filed, sometimes one (just summons or complaint), sometimes both again depends on where you live and court the creditor uses.
A summons and complaint is an order to appear before a judge because of the nonpayment of your debt. If you receive a summons on a debt you will have to answer the summons and/or appear in court if you want to argue that the debt is not yours/ unjust/ etc. Being sued means your creditor has filed paperwork requesting a judge order you to repay your debt and, if after reviewing all the paperwork, the judge agrees with the creditor your debt becomes part of the public record and your creditor has a legal claim against you called a judgment. This is a legal determination by the judge that you are now a “judgment debtor” and owe your creditor (now a “judgment creditor”) a certain amount of money.
A judgment is serious because it takes your case to the next level of debt collection and the unpleasant measures that come with it. These could include wage garnishment, freezing your bank accounts or seizing your property and you may not receive any prior notice. We recommend that you consult with a debt lawyer or debt resolution expert before responding to any of these measures.